Driver charged in high-speed chase, toddler thrown from van - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Driver charged in high-speed chase, toddler thrown from van

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

North Carolina Highway Patrol chased a van through southwest Charlotte Wednesday night at speeds that reached 100 miles per hour before ending with the van crashing at a local church. The impact of the crash threw a two-year-old from the van.

Investigators say David James Sheppard was driving with a revoked license and expired tags. He is charged with speeding to elude capture, no driver's license, and child abuse.

Troopers say the chase started when they noticed the expired tags and attempted to pull over the van on Old Pineville Road at Tyvola Road.

Troopers said the van sped off and the driver took the curve at Old Steele Creek and West Tyvola too fast, causing the van to crash into the sign for University Memorial Baptist Church. The van then flipped several times and landed at the top of the church's stairs. Two people were ejected from the van. Investigators say one of them was the two-year-old.

Troopers told WBTV Sheppard tried to run away, but was shocked with a taser and arrested. Investigators said there were obvious signs of intoxication.

Troopers say Mary Bland is the toddler's mother. She was a passenger in the van.

Thursday afternoon, CMC confirmed both Bland and Sheppard are in good condition. There is no word on the toddler's condition because his name has not been released.

Meanwhile, Pastor James Palmer spent the day checking the damage to the church. He says he's upset.

"We're sitting here doing nothing, minding our own business, trying to do the work of the Lord - and some guy come in and we have to pay - that's devastating thing for us", says Pastor Palmer.

Because Sheppard was driving with a revoked license, he doesn't have insurance. The church will have to pay for all repairs.

Pastor Palmer says the church has been hit several times in its 23 years at the location, and has had to cover the cost for most of the damages because the drivers did not have insurance.

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